I still remember how I felt when I turned on my TV that Tuesday morning in 2001. Almost everyone reading this blog remembers that day. I didn’t know anyone who died on 9/11, but I still remember how sad, angry, scared, etc. I was back then. But each year I’m a little less sad. And it makes me sad that the sadness is fading. “Never Forget,” is the slogan of 9/11 and other atrocities, but that plea always gets quieter and quieter with Time.
Do you remember where you were on November 22, 1963? Less than half of you remember President Kennedy‘s assignation. I don’t. I’m not even sure the news talks about JFK each year anymore.
Quick – what day did the attack on Pearl Harbor happen? How about D-Day? 5,000 Americans died on these two days, yet maybe a quarter of you guessed right. Even fewer of you remember with any real feeling the significance of those days. People’s eyes gloss over with boredom when I share my grandpa’s WWII war stories like this one.
Do you remember the Hundred Days Offensive? No? How can you forget the bloody finale of WWI, which cost America 127,000 casualties? None of you remember, including me. I had to look it up.
Do you mourn every July 21st, thinking with sadness about the Battle of Bull run in 1861 – the powder keg that ignited our Civil War and eventually led to 750,000 dead Americans? No. We’ve moved on.
And that’s the beautiful thing about forgetting. We move on from our greatest tragedies because of the human ability to heal from most wounds. The collective We will forget all tragedies because of the infallible ability of Time to heal ALL wounds. I won’t pretend to know what those who experienced a personal loss on 9/11 feel each year. But I do know that a thousand years from now, man will look back on 9/11 as we look back on the Crusades, or not at all. Evil acts and events, no matter how awful, are never permanent. We forget.